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Buckthorn

Rhamnus spp.

Family: Rhamnaceae

Location:
  • found from Wisconsin south to Missouri and east to New England
  • can grow in either sun or shade
  • can grow in thickets, by roadsides, in abandoned fields, in pastures, or on rocky sites
  • especially common in openings in woods or along edges of wooded areas
Characteristics:
  • tall shrub or small tree (20-25 feet in height, 10 inches in diameter)
  • usually grow few to several stems from the base
  • twigs are tipped with a short, sharp thorn
  • the buds are slightly curved and pressed to the stem
  • Common Buckthorn is non-native, originally brought to North America from Europe as an ornamental shrub
Glossy Buckthorn
Leaves:
  • Glossy Buckthorn has dark green leaves that are shiny on the top surface
  • Common Buckthorn has dull green leaves that are smooth on both sides with small teeth around the margin
  • tip can be pointed or rounded
  • curved main veins
  • hang on to tree until late fall without changing color
Fruit:
  • small black berries, often mistaken for wild black cherries
  • contain several seeds
  • juice is greenish-black
Glossy Buckthorn
Uses:
Buckthorn leaves can used to produce effective insect repellent.

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